Richard Tafoya, beloved father, brother, uncle, teacher, and friend, passed away June 7 in Albuquerque at age 79. He is survived by his son Arthur and his daughter Anne Maria; siblings Tony M. Tafoya and wife Dulcie, Charles L. Tafoya and wife Julie, Theresa Walter, Dolores Lawter, and Frieda Perez; along with many nieces and nephews and other relatives. Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Carmen Tafoya, and his beloved wife of 56 years, Janet F. Tafoya. He was born in 1937 in Willard, and graduated from Estancia High School in 1956. He then attended the University of New Mexico where he earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in music. He also earned a master’s degree in Inner City Studies from Northeastern University in Chicago. Richard taught one year in Taos before teaching music for the next 29 years at the Albuquerque Public Schools. He also served as a Warrant Officer Bandmaster with the New Mexico 44th Army National Guard Band until his retirement in 1997. Richard’s deep love of music included avid support for the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque, the Santa Fe Opera, the University of New Mexico Music Department, and volunteering for the American Legion as a band member and leader. He was an active and engaged member of Albuquerque’s Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church and a member of the Holy Name Society, as well as the Knights of Columbus. Richard will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Cremation has taken place and a Memorial Rosary will be held June 15 at 7 p.m. at French-Lomas at 10500 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque. A funeral Mass will be held June 16 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery & Mausoleum in Albuquerque. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Richard’s name (“Paul Richard Tafoya”) to Animal Humane New Mexico (615 Virginia St. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 or visit A guestbook for Richard is online at